Monday, September 26, 2011

Stripping as metaphor

Paint, folks.  I'm stripping paint.

Lately I've undertaken home improvement projects with new zeal.  I guess I'm finally ready to accept this home as my own and I'm taking steps to get it to a state where it feels that way.  My biggest project at the moment is redoing the spare bedroom  Bye bye pre-teen boy cammo colors.  The first major accomplishment in the room was ceiling painting.  Gross.

My house is pushing 85 years old and there must be at least 50 years of paint slathered on my window moldings, especially in the room I'm working on now.  You could hardly see the detail in the molding and I knew yet another coat of primer and paint would only make it worse so I'm undertaking the very messy project of stripping the wood.  My first adventure in this realm has taught me many lessons:

1. Sometimes something that won't open isn't meant to be opened.  The first can of stripper I bought was IMPOSSIBLE to open.  I tried multiple times, and while I'm not a brute, I'm also not a weakling.  A return trip to the store yielded me a better smelling, more protective product that works better than the first even claimed to.  Giving up on the old and moving on to the new was a good call.

2. Patience is a virtue.  The new stripping agent can sit on the wood for up to 24 hours.  If you just back the hell off and let it do it's work, life is much easier.  I'm not so good at patience.

3. A little hard work never killed anyone.  See # 2.  As I'm not patient, I've been working harder than I should have to.  I find it therapeutic to dig and scrape at 10 layers of paint.

4. You can only put so much work in to something.  While I've enjoyed digging and scraping, it comes to a point where I just had to chill out, sit back, and let the chemical do its job.  At some point, work for work's sake becomes futile and you need to step back, have a beer and take a break.

5. Don't worry if what you find under the surface isn't perfect.  Nothing is.  My plan all along was to repaint right over the wood.  I thought maybe if I found something spectacular under all that paint I'd work extra hard to get it perfect and stain instead of paint.  I'm not yet sure which conclusion I reach.  If I get what I planned for, great.  Should I find something unexpected, fantastic.  Either way, I win.

Ok, time to inhale some more fumes.

1 comment:

  1. Watch out for lead dust might want to be wearing a respirator.